Citation: Dr. Elsie Leung Oi-Sie Doctor of Laws, honoris causa


Dr Elsie Leung

A citation written by Professor Ned AUGHTERSON

The poet and writer Diane Ackerman once said that she did not want to get to the end of her life and find that she lived just the length of it. She wanted to have lived the width of it as well. That sentiment has reflected and continues to reflect the attitude to life of Elsie Leung Oi-Sie.

In that vein, she has contributed greatly to the development and well being of Hong Kong. She was the first Secretary for Justice of the HKSAR from 1997 to 2005 and in that capacity was proactive in promoting Hong Kong as an international legal services centre for the resolution of disputes. She was also an ex-officio member of the Executive Council. As the Secretary for Justice, she was Chairman of the Law Reform Commission, the Committee on a Bilingual Legal System and the Legal Practitioners’ Liaison Committee.

In the period leading up to the handover, Elsie Leung advised the Chief Executive Designate on legal matters relating to the establishment of the HKSAR. Before the handover, she also served on various government boards and committees, including the Independent Police Complaints Council, the Equal Opportunities Commission, the Social Welfare Advisory Committee, the Fight Crime Committee, the Operations Review Committee of the Independent Commission Against Corruption and the Inland Revenue Board of Review.

In addition, she has been honorary legal advisor to many non-governmental organisations. Elsie Leung was a founding member of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment of Hong Kong. She was appointed as a Delegate of the People’s Congress of Guangdong Province in 1989 and as a delegate of the 8th National People’s Congress and Hong Kong Affairs Adviser in 1993.

For her distinguished public service and for her significant contribution in ensuring the successful implementation of the new constitutional order under the principle of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, Elsie Leung was awarded the Grand Bauhinia Medal in July 2002.

Elsie Leung has not rested on her laurels. She continues to live the width of her life. Presently, she is Adviser to the Hong Kong Mediation Centre; Council Member of the Hong Kong International Arbitration Centre; Council Member of the Hong Kong Society of Notaries; Trustee of the Hong Kong Hospital Authority Charitable Foundation; Chairman of the Huang Miaozi Yu Feng Charitable Foundation; Management Committee Member of the Ng Siu Mui Charitable Foundation; member of the Board of Governors of the China-United States Exchange Foundation; Trustee of the Association For Celebration of Reunification of Hong Kong with China Charitable Trust; Executive Council Member of the Hong Kong Federation of Women; Honorary Member of the Hong Kong Federation of Women Lawyers; Non-Official Member to the Commission on Strategic Development of HKSAR; Adviser to the 4th Committee Members of UNA-China; Adviser to the Advisory Council of the People’s Government of Foshan Municipality, Guangdong; and Deputy Director of the Basic Law Committee of the HKSAR of the Standing Committee of the National People’s Congress of The People’s Republic of China. The last of these positions entitles her to attend Standing Committee Meetings of the National People’s Congress.

Elsie Leung has also maintained her keen interest in promoting the concept of ‘One Country, Two Systems’, delivering speeches on the topic in Hong Kong and abroad. She has been equally active in addressing the important issue of the development of the rule of law in Hong Kong and Mainland China.

In 2008, reflective of her organizational and diplomatic skills, she was appointed Vice-mayor of the Beijing Olympic and Paralympic Village, for the Beijing Organizing Committee for the Games of the XXIX Olympiad. She has also resumed her legal practice as Consultant in Iu, Lai and Li, Solicitors.

Elsie Leung was born in Hong Kong, her grandfather having migrated to Hong Kong from Nanhai in Guangdong Province. She attended school at St. Clare School and Sacred Heart Canossian College, before studying law through the College of Law, England and passing her Law Society Qualifying Examinations in 1967. She obtained a Master of Laws degree from Hong Kong University in 1988.

She qualified as a solicitor and commenced legal practice in 1968, later becoming a partner of P.H. Sin & Co. and Iu, Lai and Li Solicitors, where she specialized in China trade and divorce cases. She was also admitted as a solicitor in England and Wales and in Victoria, Australia.

Elsie Leung was awarded the Honorary Degrees of Doctor of Laws from the University of Politics and Law, Beijing, in 2004 and the University of Warwick in the United Kingdom in 2005.

As indicated by the honorary degree from the University of Warwick, her reputation extends well beyond Hong Kong and Mainland China. From 1994 to 1996 she was International President of the International Federation of Women Lawyers, which held its bi-annual conference in Hong Kong. She also actively took part in the preparation for the 4th World Women’s Conference in Beijing in 1995. Twenty years earlier, Elsie Leung was involved with the organisation of the Hong Kong Women Lawyers (formerly International Federation of Women Lawyers Hong Kong or FIDA, Hong Kong) in 1975.

Elsie Leung has made a rich contribution to Hong Kong Society. That contribution has been and continues to be broad and varied. In short, it has great width.

Mr President, I commend to you Elsie Leung Oi-Sie for the award of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.

From: December Issue 2010

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